OTTAWA, ON, May 5, 2023- Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory — Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations; the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor; and the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth; issued the following statement:
“The Red Dress reminds us to uphold and honour the memory and spirits of all missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls (MMIWG) and Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, plus (2SLGBTQI+) people. Our thoughts are with the families, survivors and communities affected by this national crisis, as well as all other victims of violence towards Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people. We acknowledge the courageous voices of families and survivors who have shown unwavering dedication in finding truth, ensuring justice for loved ones, and protecting the seven generations ahead.
Red Dress Day was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s The REDress Project, an art installation providing powerful and emotional visual reminders of the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people. The installation focuses on the hanging of red dresses to highlight the absence of loved ones who lost their lives to the national crisis of gender-based violence.
We invite you to join us in wearing red today to honour both the women and girls who have been taken and their families and friends who continue to live with the tragic effects and loss of their loved ones. We are committed to working in partnership with Indigenous families, survivors, leaders, and partners, as well as with provinces and territories, to make transformational change that will end this national crisis.
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) was a beginning, not an end. We must all do better for families, survivors and communities. The federal government is committed to learning from the wisdom of our Indigenous partners in a way that respects our shared priorities. we will continue to use the Federal Pathway, the National Action Plan, the National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice, and the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence to lay the path forward for our work.
Red Dress Day marks an important reminder that we all have a responsibility in ending the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people. As communities across the country gather, to march and commemorate their loved ones, we march with you in spirit from Ottawa. We must never forget the pain and suffering inflicted on the victims, their families and communities, but rather commit together that we will be relentless in our efforts to create safety for all Indigenous girls, women and 2SLGBTQI+ people, no matter their circumstances. Only then will the memories of those lost be honoured.
There is a national, toll-free 24/7 crisis call line providing mental health support for anyone who requires emotional assistance related to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people. For assistance, call 1-844-413-6649.
Support is also available through the MMIWG health and cultural support services.
Support could include professional counselling with a focus on healing, emotional support such as listening and referrals to additional services, and culturally specific help centred around traditional healing methods and Elder services.